Sunday, December 10, 2006

Return from Amsterdam - Dutch Jazz Meeting

Just returned from a showcase of jazz in Amsterdam, where I was invited along with 80 other promoters from all round the world to hear some of the latest out of Holland. What a difference in government commitment to that in the UK!

First, that they actually make such an effort to invite people to check out the jazz of moment. Second, that they give it a high artistic priority, in their international activities. Third, that they have made such a stron investment in the Bimhuis. I hadn't been to the new one before, but it's amazing, overlooking the city with a huge picture window behind the band, great acoustics and comfortable seats. It takes a long-term, almost indefinite, view to support such a venture.

Contrast that with the UK. The Vortex got going on no direct public funding, and certainly is dependent 100% on self-generated income for survival. (The equivalent at the Bimhuis is 25% raised from door income and bar.) And people are hardly aware of any new trends in UK jazz at present. I spoke with a father and son from Timisoara who run a festival. In the 10 years that the festival is running they had had no contact with anyone about UK jazz whatsoever.

A few of the bands might be feasible to have perform at the Vortex. I felt that many were in general still 1 or 2 years away from being well enough developed, though I was impressed by their energy, especially some of the young guys. The problem at the Vortex will remain that people still don't come to such gigs based on quality and curiosity alone. It would be good to change people's minds on the matter.

I understand that Gwilym Simcock is worried that, based on a recent comment in the Evening Standard, he might not get gigs at Ronnie Scott's. As John Cumming of Serious pointed out to me, would he really want one anyway with Ronnies being what it is at present?

No comments: